Alex O. Ellis

Ordained Minister ? Abundant Life Family Worship Church ? New Brunswick, N.J. ? Age: 37

Alex O. Ellis never looked back when he walked away from a promising career in the financial industry to answer the call to ministry. Now an ordained minister at Abundant Life Family Worship Church in New Brunswick, N.J., he not only preaches and serves during life-changing events such as baptisms and weddings, but he also oversees the management of church conferences, retreats and special programs. Living his dream, he advises, ?Don?t chase money. Identify your passion. Find out what your gift is, master the gift and the money will follow.?

His father, Lester Ellis Sr., who taught him the importance of family and instilled in him a strong sense of community, has always inspired Ellis. Subsequently, he adopted the motto: ?Greatness is leading a life that is beneficial to someone other than yourself.? In February, he launched the National Tied to Greatness Initiative in which older men serve as role models to inner-city young men. The initiative?s centerpiece is a Tie Tying Ceremony ? a rite of passage where older men teach the youth how to tie a tie. Ellis?s goal is to help young men build their image from ?the inside out,? teaching them the importance of character and integrity. ?It is not the responsibility of the government to have to pass laws about saggin? jeans; it?s our responsibility to band together as fathers, uncles, brothers and mentors to raise the bar and set a new standard,? he says.

In light of this conviction, Ellis has published a book, Restoring the Male Image: A Look From the Inside Out, which aims to restore the pride in a man?s internal and external image. Ellis earned a bachelor?s degree in industrial engineering at North Carolina A&T State University and a master?s in theological studies at Rutgers University?s New Brunswick Theological Seminary.